Glarus Canton Attractions
To the south of the picturesque Walensee the little canton of Glarus, occupies the basin of the River Linth, one of the most beautiful transverse valleys in the Alps, with the ridge of Glärisch (2,332 m/7,651ft) rearing above it on the west and the massive bulk of Tödi (3,614 m/11,858ft) closing its southern end.
Surrounded on three sides by mountains, the canton is linked with the neighboring canton of Uri by a road which runs southwest from Linthal over the Klausen pass.The 37,000 inhabitants of the canton (area 685 sq. km/264 sq. mi), the land of St Fridolin, who appears on Glarus' coat of arms, are an independent-minded race, formed by this rugged mountain world. Industry (in particular the cotton industry; spinning, weaving, colored prints) established itself here at an early stage, using the water-power provided by the Linth. The main valley is served by a branch railroad line from Zurich to Chur at Ziegelbrücke. From Linthal there is a cableway to the traffic-free resort of Braunwald, and there is a bus service from Schwanden to Elm in the Sernf valley.From 1288 Glarus was under Habsburg jurisdiction, and after repeated threats to its independence became the sixth canton to join the Confederation. Since 1387 the cantonal meeting (Landesgemeinde) has been held every year in the Zaunplatz in Glarus on the first Sunday in May. In 1388 the men of Glarus finally shook off the Habsburg yoke by their victory in the Battle of Näfels. During the Reformation the canton was divided into two cantons, one Protestant and the other Catholic, but the two halves were reunited under the 1836 constitution.Local culinary specialities are Schabzieger, a herb cheese, and Glarner Pasteten (fruit tarts).
From the broad mouth of the Linth valley at Ziegelbrücke (alt. 428 m/1,404ft) the road runs south to Linthal (alt. 651 m/2,136ft; 28km/17mi) and from there over the Klausen pass to Altdorf in the canton of Uri.
From Niederurnen (432 m/1,417ft; pop. 3,500) there is a footpath up the Rebburg to the Schlössli (Burg Oberwindegg), with fine views of the Linth plain and the Walensee. The path then continues to Oberurnen (432 m/ 1,417ft) with a view of the Glarus Alps.
Näfels - Freulerpalast (Museum)
The finest building in the canton of Glarus is the Freulerpalast with a magnificent Renaissance doorway and Early Baroque interior. Built by Colonel Kaspar Freuler, commander of the Swiss guard in France, it has been occupied by the Cantonal Museum since 1942 and contains collections regarding the history of textile printing plus, weapons, uniforms and flags.
Obersee - Linth Valley
From Näfels a steep road climbs to a charming little lake, the Obersee (989 m/3,245ft).
Mollis to Kerenzerberg
Näfels shares a railroad station with its twin town of Mollis (444 m/1,457ft). In the Steinacker is the birthplace of the Glarus humanist Heinrich Loriti (1488-1563), who was crowned as poet laureate by the Emperor Maximilian. On the road up the Kerenzerberg are Obstalden and Filzbach (sports facility, with a public indoor swimming pool).
Netstal (453 m/1,486ft; pop. 2,800) is a long straggling village surrounded by hillocks formed by landslides of the past, with some industry and a hydroelectric power station (50,000 kW) built in 1909. The Late Baroque village church is a statutorily protected ancient monument.
From Netstal a road (postal bus in summer) and footpath cross the Schwammhöhe (superb views of the Glarus mountains) into the Klöntal (850 m/2,789ft), one of the most beautiful and romantic of Alpine valleys, with the Klöntalersee and a series of tumultuous mountain streams. The lake was almost doubled in size by the construction of a dam.
The road passing through Rhodannenberg (853 m/2,799ft; 5km/3mi; inn) follows the lake, above the south side of which rear the rock walls of Glärnisch (with the peaks of Vorderglärnisch, 2,331 m/7,648ft, Vrenelisgärtli, 2,904 m/9,528ft, Ruchen, 2,905 m/9,531ft), to Vorauen (853 m/2,799ft; inn) and the Richisau (1,095 m/3,593ft), an expanse of Alpine pasture at the beginning of the bridle-path over the Pragel pass (1,554 m/5,099ft) to Muothal (five-hour walk). The Klöntal is a popular resort with climbers and hill-walkers (e.g. over the passes into the Sihl and Wägi valleys).
Glarus (481 m/1,578ft; pop. 5,700) lying at the foot of Glärnisch (Vorderglärnisch, 2,331 m/7,648ft), is capital of the canton, rebuilt in 1861 on a regular grid plan after a devastating fire. The twin-towered Neo-Romanesque church (Protestant) was built in 1866; fine treasury. In the Town Hall is a relief model of the canton on a scale of 1:25,000. The Landesgemeinde (communal assembly) meets every year on the first Sunday in May in the Zaunplatz. In the courthouse are the cantonal archives and cantonal library, with a famous early map of Switzerland by Ägidus Tschudi (1570).Out of the town are some houses which survived the fire, examples of the architecture such as Leuzinger-Paravicini house (16th C.) and the "Haus in der Wies" ("house in the meadow"), built for Johann Heinrich Streiff (1746-1748), the founder of the Glarnus textile industry.
Art Gallery (Historical Museum)
The Glarus Kunsthaus contains a natural history collection and mounts exhibitions of Swiss 19th and 20th C. artists (paintings and sculptures by F. Hodler, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Pauli), international graphics and the iconography collection of Hans Jenny-Kapers.
A collection commemorating the army that fought under general field marshal Alexander Suvorov (1730-1800).
Schwanden (528 m/1,732ft; pop. 2,600) lies at the junction of the Sernf and the Linth, which provide water for the Sernf-Niederenbach hydro-electric scheme. It is a good starting-point for a walk into the Niederental, and from there by cableway to the Mettmenalp (mountain inn) and the artificial lake on the Garichte. Good climbing in the Karrenstock and Kärpf area (the oldest wildlife reserve in Switzerland, with numerous chamois, marmots and ibex).
This annual day-long festival takes place in late September and is based on an ancient custom.
From Schwanden an attractive detour can be made into the Sernf valley (also known as the Kleintal); the road runs via Engi and Matt (oldest church in Glarus, 1261) and comes in 15km/9mi to Elm (977 m/3,206ft; pop. 800), in a quiet and secluded area which offers excellent walking.
The last settlement in the main Linth valley is Linthal (653 m/2,142ft; pop. 1400), with mighty mountains rearing above the little town. Selbsanft (3,029 m/9,938ft) lies above the artificial lakes supplying the Linth-Limmern hydroelectric scheme, with the Gries glacier; the Bifertenstock (3,426 m/10,722ft) and Tödi (3,614 m/11,858ft). Tierfehd, 5km/3mi south is a good base for walks and climbs in the Tödi group.
From Linthal (parking garage) the Braunwaldbahn (length 1,314 m/4,311ft, time 10 minutes) ascends to the only traffic-free mountain and holiday resort in eastern Switzerland, Braunwald (1,256 m/4,121ft; pop. 500), an ideal jumping-off point for walking and climbing. Experimental rhododendron nursery (open July and August). Musical festival in July. Chairlift to Gumen mountain inn (1,900 m/6,234ft).
Klausen pass road to Altdorf
There is a magnificent drive over the Klausen pass from Linthal to Altdorf in the canton of Uri (48km/30mi). The road built in 1893-99 on the line of an old bridle-path, has a maximum gradient of 8.5% (1 in 12) and is usually open from June to November.
A series of well-engineered bends leads up to the Vorfrutt (1,812 m/5,945ft), from which four further bends take the road to the Klausen pass (1,948 m/6,391ft; chapel, kiosk), 23km/14mi from Linthal. The road then runs down 1.5km/1mi to the Klausenpasshöhe Hotel (1,838 m/6,030ft) and continues down the Schächen valley, with the 93 m/305ft high Staubi falls. After passing through Urigen (1,280 m/4,200ft) it reaches Unterschächen (994 m/3,261ft), at the mouth of the steep Brunni valley, with a view of the Grosse Windgälle (3,192 m/10,473ft) and the Grosser Ruchen (3,136 m/10,289ft). Between Spiringen and St Loreto is the Kinzigpass inn (640 m/2,100ft), with the 16th C. Loreto chapel. From Brügg a cableway (3.2km/2mi in two stages) runs up in 15minutes to the Biel mountain inn (1,634 m/5,361ft), below the Kinzig pass (2,076 m/6,811ft) over which the Russian General Suvorov was compelled to retreat into the Muota valley in 1799 with 18,000 men suffering heavy losses. After passing through the village of Bürglen we arrive in Altdorf.
10km/6mi from Linthal the road crosses the Scheidbächli, a stream which has marked the boundary between the cantons of Glarus and Uri since 1196, and comes to the Urnerboden (1,313-1,400 m/4,308-4,593ft), a meadow-covered high valley some 7km/4mi long through which flows the Fätschbach, following an almost level course for 4km/2mi.